The Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organized, last 27th November at the Hotel Le Plaza, their yearly Gala Dinner. The Embassy of Spain in Belgium, the Leading Brands of Spain Forum, Marca España and the Spanish Office for Patents and Brands (OEPM), collaborated specially on the event organization. During the dinner, the awards “Friends of Marca España” and “Friends of the Spanish Brands” were given. These awards aim to publicly acknowledge certain Belgian people, companies and institutions for their outstanding support and collaboration with Spain and/or Spanish brands within each of their respective professional spheres. This is the ninth edition of the awards and the first in Belgium, with previous ceremonies having taken place in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Moscow, London, Miami, Tokyo, Dubai, and Mexico.
After a welcome cocktail where the participants were delighted with cava offered by Freixenet, Institutional Wines D.O. Ca Rioja, Estrella Galicia beer, ibérico de bellota ham offered by the Regional Government of Extremadura and an appetizer elaborated by Marcos Morán, Gastronomic Director of the Restaurant Hispania Brussels, the Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony started.
First, Juan Rodríguez-Villa, President of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg took the stand. During his speech, he welcomed all the attendees to the Gala Dinner, went over all the activities that took place at the Chamber on 2017 and congratulated all the awardees of the night.
Afterwards, the masters of ceremonies, Sergi Ferré and Laura Martínez, Cultural and Political Counselors respectively, at the Spanish Embassy in Belgium, gave the word to José Luis Bonet, president of the Leading Brands of Spain Forum. During his speech, Bonet highlighted the important role of the Chambers of Commerce abroad, as well as the Friends of the Marca España and Friends of the Spanish Brands’, to make them stronger and more competitive internationally.
After the projection of a video-presentation about the Spanish Brands, the masters of ceremonies introduced the awards ceremony “Friends of the Spanish Brands in Belgium”. Several Spanish Brands, aim to recognize the hard work of Belgian citizens to internationalize and expand these brands in Belgium, through this award. The awardees were:
- JEAN PIERRE PIRET as Friend of the Brand FERMAX in Belgium
- LOUIS CULOT KEUKENWERKBLADEN as Friend of the Brand COSENTINO in Belgium.
- ERIC LE PAIGE as Friend of the Brand ANDREU WORLD in Belgium.
- JEAN-LUC MURI as Friend of the Brand LLADRÓ in Belgium.
- KEEP IT QUIET as Friend of the Brand FREIXENET in Belgium.
After the awards ceremony, the attendees enjoyed a gourmet Spanish menu elaborated by Marcos Morán, who owns a Michelin Star and has been recognized with the National Gastronomy Award.
After the dinner, the Ambassador of Spain in Belgium, Cecilia Yuste Rojas, took the stand to congratulate the initiative of awarding the people who help to create closer ties between Spain and Belgium. Then, after the video presentation of Marca España, the masters of ceremonies presented the second awards ceremony “Friends of the Marca España” in Belgium. The awardees were:
- Award to JAN DE CLERCK as Friend of the Marca España in Belgium, for being a pioneer of foreign tourism for the entire coast of Cádiz. He is currently Chairman of the hotel group Hoteles Andaluces Con Encanto (HACE) in the province of Cádiz.
- Award to NICHETTE GHYOOT as Friend of the Marca España in Belgium. General Director of the tour operator Transeurope she collaborates with Spain’s Department of Tourism in the organization of activities with travel agencies, showcasing different destinations in Spain, such as Andalusia, Galicia, the Basque Country, and the Canary Islands.
- Collective award to HISPANISTAS EN BÉLGICA as Friend of the Marca España in Belgium. The acknowledge of all Spanish language and literature professors from seven Belgian universities that have academic chairs dedicated to these subjects is recognized.
- Award to ROLAND CRACCO as Friend of the Marca España in Belgium. CEO of the Belgian company INTERPARKING, one of the leading European groups with over 350,000 parking spaces. He loves Spain, its culture and its geography. Spain is one of the countries where INTERPARKING has invested the most, and the goal is to continue expanding throughout the country.
- Award to CARMEN VAN DEN BOSSCHE as Friend of the Marca España in Belgium. She manages Caractère, a tour operator specializing in charming hotels and experiences that is looking to Spain for the launch of new products targeted at segments and destinations that play a part in achieving the objectives set by Spain’s tourism policy.
- Award to OMMEGANG as Friend of the Marca España in Belgium.
- Award to BERT DEHANDSCHUTTER as Friend of the Marca España in Belgium. He is a partner at Belgian law firm Racine. He is currently considered one of the most sought after lawyers for Spanish companies trading in Belgium.
After the awards ceremony, Bert Dehandschutter, in the name of all the awarded of the night, showed his appreciation for the awards given by Marca España and by the by the Spanish Brands for their relationship with Spain, both in the cultural and economic aspects.
Finally, Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros, High Commissioner for the Marca España closed the event by thanking the Friends of the Marca España and Friends of the Spanish Brands their hard work for internationalize the Spanish Brands.
The Chamber thanks all the attendees their presence, and the Embassy of Spain in Belgium, the Leading Brands of Spain Forum, Marca España and the Spanish Office of Brands and Patents their collaboration in the organization of the event. Furthermore, we appreciate the collaboration of the sponsor companies and institutions: Freixenet, D.O.Ca Rioja, Estrella Galicia, Hispania Brussels, Quality Media Producciones, Junta de Extremadura, Indra and Santander Consumer Bank.